How to Tell if You’re Too Sick to Exercise

exercise when sick

Should you exercise when sick?

It sucks, but it never fails. You’re a week or two into your new workout routine and things are going string. You’re starting to fall into the routine and see results.

And then you get sick.

What can you do when you hit this road block? How can you tell if you should push through or take some time to recharge? Great question that in actually dealing with right now as I type, stuffy nose and all.

Follow the Neck Rule


The neck rule is a pretty commonly held idea that if your symptoms are concentrated above your neck, then you’re probably okay to workout. In fact, working out may actually help ease those symptoms. In my experience, I find that a good workout tends to clear out my sinuses and get me breathing normally.

However, if things have dropped down into your chest and your breathing is affected, then working out may only exacerbate things. You may have the flu or some other serious ailment. If that’s the case, it’s time to rest. Your body needs that more than frying your muscles at this point.

Also make sure you are drinking plenty of liquids either way. When you are sick, especially if y

What About Exercising During Your Time of the Month?

Maybe you aren’t actually sick, but you’re on your period. What about then? God knows you can feel like crap, and the last thing you want to do is hold a yoga pose or do your squats. So should you skip? No. Not unless you’re in a really bad way. The fact is that there are many pluses to exercising on your period:

  • It can help relieve you of bloating
  • It can lift your spirits, since many women are prone to anxiety and depression during that time
  • It can help cut down on cramps

Sure you have to be a bit more careful, and the actual act of exercising might seem torturous during this time, but like exercising during a cold, you may actually feel better in the end.

Tips for Exercising When You Feel Like Poop

Remember, if you think you have more than a cold, or if you have especially bad cramps during your period, it’s best to talk to your physician before exercising. However, if you plan on sucking it up and pushing through, here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Drink plenty of water. You will likely get dehydrated easier when sick.
  • Start slow. Take it easy as your body warms up and you gauge how you feel. Amp things up slowly only if your body can handle it. Otherwise, go for a light workout.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Your body needs rest even more when you’re sick. Sleep a little extra so you have more energy to carry you through your workout.

Do you workout when you’re sick? Tell us your secrets! 

photo courtesy of marin/

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